An Indian Court ruled on Thursday that Coca-Cola and Pepsi should not be banned from using water from a river in the Southern State of Tamil Nadu.
The Madras High Court ruling came four months after petitioner PA Prabhakar argued that the beverage giants should not be allowed to use the water for commercial gain while farmers were struggling to irrigate crops.
Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages and PepsiCo India, subsidiaries of the multinational companies, told the court that they were being unfairly targeted.
They said they were part of a government-run industrial estate in Tirunelveli district where the waters of the Tamiraparani River were supplied to all industries in the complex.
The bottling plants in the estate have not been allowed to use the water for the past four months pending the court’s decision.
The ruling comes at a time when the two companies are also battling a boycott by local traders’ associations.
“Drinks like Coke and Pepsi are unhealthy as they have high sugar content and chemicals.
“Fruit juices and Indian soft drinks are much better,’’ TT Vellaiyan, president of the Federation of Tamil Nadu Traders Association, said.
Shops and restaurants were being asked to not stock the two beverages and encourage local businesses, Vellaiyan said.